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Mon 13 Jun 2022

Neuville Everyone is working so hard

Thierry Neuville has praised the efforts of his Hyundai Motorsport team despite suffering another luckless event at Rally Italia Sardegna.

The Belgian driver’s championship hopes were dealt a devastating blow when he dropped almost two minutes on the opening day with a driveshaft issue before rolling his i20 N Rally1 out of contention on SS12. 

It was the third consecutive rally in which Neuville ran into mechanical woes following an alternator fault in Croatia and another driveshaft issue in Portugal. 

“It was really tough, to be honest,” said Neuville. “The problem on the car hit us quite hard and, despite showing a lot of motivation on the last five events, I struggled to keep my concentration. 

“There’s nothing we can do. At the end, we were actually very unlucky with the technical issue on Friday because it was not something very common. It was actually the boot of the driveshaft that broke - the oil came out and we overheated the joint. 

“There’s nothing the team could have done better and we were really unlucky this time, but for sure, we know from events before that there is still a margin for improvement,” he added.

Neuville backed the efforts of his Alzenau-based team and explained that he was disappointed not to repay their efforts by delivering a strong result.

“The people are working hard,” he insisted. “They didn't get any return [from me] here.

“They are working and everybody is doing what we can. We will need to work on some internal structures which we have to improve, but we are working on it. 

“Everybody needs to be able to take decisions, and it’s a bit more difficult at the moment, but I am sure we’ll improve on that. 

“I know we can be even more competitive,” he continued. “The car performance is there - it’s not 100 per cent yet, at least for me this weekend - and somehow, despite the struggles we were still able to set fastest times.”

Neuville will return to action for round six of the championship at Safari Rally Kenya later this month. The classic fixture is based in Naivasha and takes places on 23 - 26 June.

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